• Tuesday, Mar. 17, 2020
Creative director Ninaad Kulkarni joins Nice Shoes
Ninaad Kulkarni

Creative studio Nice Shoes has hired creative director Ninaad Kulkarni as part of its growing experiential division. A 3D artist, immersive storyteller and animation filmmaker with a background in traditional and 3D animation, Kulkarni was selected in 2019 as part of the Forbes “30 Under 30” India class. He comes to NYC-based Nice Shoes having worked with Audi, among other leading brands.

Kulkarni established himself as a nontraditional filmmaker to watch following the success of his thesis short film KCLOC. This artful visual exploration of the concept of time was showcased at MoMA, winning the prestigious Red-Dot Award, Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers Award and the AT&T Film Award, as well as being selected for screening at over 130 international film festivals. His most recent project, a collaborative virtual reality film The Other Side VR, is the first-ever immersive experience based on the Partition of India, which fuses woodcut--a traditional printmaking technique--and 3D animation. He’s currently working to expand the experience, adding more stories and interviews as well as launching it to a wider audience. 

Kulkarni studied at the National Institute of Design, India and earned his M.F.A. in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts in New York. 

  • Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020
Framestore taps Christian Nielsen to lead CG in L.A.
Christian Nielsen

Oscar-winning creative studio Framestore has tapped Christian Nielsen as head of CG in its Los Angeles office, bringing with him over 20 years of industry experience in commercial and film work.

Nielsen--who reports directly to Duncan Burbidge, Framestore L.A.’s managing director--will be charged with overseeing the studio’s roster of CG supervisors, CG leads and discipline supervisors, advising them on strategic, technical and creative decisions, as well as providing on-set supervision through to delivery of projects. 

Joining Framestore from The Mill in New York where he spent over eight years, first as CG supervisor followed by head of CG/VFX supervisor, Nielsen has worked on brands like PlayStation, Bud Light, AT&T, and Gillette, and alongside notable directors such as Peter Berg, Wayne McClammy and Martin de Thurah. 

Most notably, he led the team that worked closely alongside Bud Light’s creative agency, Wieden + Kennedy, on 10 spots for the brand’s famed “Dilly Dilly” campaign--two of which aired during the 2018 Super Bowl. As VFX/CG supervisor on Playstation’s “The King,” he and the team worked across assets from approximately 30 different games, including characters from God of War, Call of Duty, Spider-Man, Horizon Zero Dawn, and more.  

Prior to The Mill, Nielsen also spent time at Framestore in London working on The Tale of Despereaux--the company’s first feature animation film. 

Nielsen has received a host of industry accolades, including a Cannes Gold Lion, D&AD, Clios, VES and Webby Awards. He studied CG and animation at Truemax in Copenhagen, and is a member of the Visual Effects Society.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 10, 2020
Melissa Lubin joins Union NY as executive producer
Melissa Lubin

Bicoastal Union Editorial has hired Melissa Lubin as executive producer in its New York office where she will be heading up new initiatives and pursuing expanded business opportunities for the company. Lubin will team with Union partner Caryn Maclean who now takes on the title of managing director. Prior to joining Union, Lubin spent four years as EP at Beast Editorial NY, a division of Deluxe Entertainment Services, Inc. 

Lubin said she was drawn to Union’s high-caliber work, the “sterling reputation” of its people and the company’s forward-thinking vision. “In addition to award-winning spot work, Union has its eyes on the future, pursuing more docuseries and other interesting projects,” she said. “What they’ve done via Union Entertainment Group with regard to originating content is quite impressive.”

Maclean said, “I was looking for a partner and collaborator and I’ve found that in Melissa.”

Upon graduating from Binghamton University in 2005, Manhattan native Lubin got her start as a receptionist at the indie editorial outfit Cutting Room. She steadily rose through the ranks, holding positions there as assistant producer, producer, and sr. producer/head of production. She ultimately was appointed executive producer at age 28.

Lubin joined Beast NY as executive producer in 2016, managing the New York office as well as working closely with all regional Beast offices as a key executive selling editorial services across the country. She was deeply involved with various campaigns for clients such as Progressive, ExxonMobil, and Visa. 

In working with agencies and production companies such as BBDO, TBWA, McCann, Droga5, RadicalMedia, Station Film, O Positive, SMUGGLER, PRETTYBIRD, and others, Lubin has curated a career rich in collaborative spirit.  

Union Editorial has offices located in Los Angeles, New York, Austin, and London (where it maintains an alliance with Marshall Street Editors). The company also develops and produces original content through its Union Entertainment Group banner. Other Union companies include Resolution, which provides finishing services, VFX, graphics and mix for commercials, features and gaming. Union is presided over by partner/managing director Michael Raimondi in LA, Maclean alongside Lubin in NY, and executive producer Vicki Russell in Austin. The Union roster is comprised of partner/editors Jim Haygood, Einar Thorsteinsson, Jay Friedkin, Sloane Klevin, Marco Perez, Merritt Duff, and editors Chris Huth, Daniel Luna, Laura Milstein, Jason Lucas, Karen Kourtessis, Kevin Ray, Nicholas Wayman-Harris, Rachael Waxler, Zach Kashkett, Andrea MacArthur, Amanda Perry as well as select projects with Teddy Gersten,Tim Thornton-Allen, Matt Chesse, John Mayes, Spencer Ferszt, Paul Plew and the Marshall Street U.K. roster.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 10, 2020
Northern Lights adds editor Anthony Marinelli
Anthony Marinelli

Editor Anthony Marinelli--whose experience spans commercial, brand content, film and social projects--has joined NY/LA/SF based postproduction boutique Northern Lights. Marinelli comes to Northern Lights from a four year stint at TwoPointO where he was also a partner.  He has previously worked at KIND Editorial, Alkemy X, Red Car, Cut+Run, and Crew Cuts.

Marinelli’s work for brands like Mercedes, FedEx, BMW, Visa, Pepsi, Scotts, Mount Sinai, and Verizon has aired in the Super Bowl and the Oscars.  He also edited the Webby Award winning documentary Alicia in Africa featuring Alicia Keys for Keep a Child Alive.

Marinelli is also active in independent theater and film. He has written and directed numerous award winning plays and short films including Acoustic Space which won Best Short at the 2018 Ridgewood Guild Film Festival and Best Short Screenplay in the Richmond International Film Festival. 

Marinelli’s most recent campaigns are for Mount Sinai and Bernie & Phyl’s for DeVito Verdi.

  • Thursday, Mar. 5, 2020
Sid Lee completes its U.S. leadership team with Palazzo-Hart, Shanbhag
Melissa Palazzo-Hart

Global creative company Sid Lee has finalized the core of its leadership team in the U.S. with the addition of Melissa Palazzo-Hart as chief operations officer and Nirm Shanbhag as chief strategy officer.

Palazzo-Hart brings over 20 years of experience building, scaling, and optimizing businesses and brands. Most recently as managing director of Eclipse Advertising, she piloted the organization’s creative division. Prior to that, she served as president of entertainment and advertising agency Ant Farm. She also held leadership positions at Ketchum Public Relations, USA Network, Miramax Films and Sony Pictures.

Shanbhag’s role prior to joining Sid Lee was as principal at Notch Strategy, a boutique strategy shop he founded six-plus years ago. He earlier was managing director at Interbrand for which he built a West Coast presence by creating an experiential studio. He also worked with such ad agencies as MullenLowe and McCann Erickson.

Palazzo-Hart and Shanbhag round out a U.S. leadership ensemble at Sid Lee which includes: USA CEO Andy Bateman; Jeff Alpen, managing director, Seattle and New York; Nicolas Van Erum, managing director, L.A.; and Cam Levin, chief creative officer.

On the account front, Sid Lee has just become the global agency of record for performance workwear brand Dickies, following the new U.S. business win of simplehuman, a designer and manufacturer of tools for efficient living. Sid Lee’s creative partner roster also includes Warner Bros. Games, FC Cincinnati, Marvel, TNT’s Snowpiercer, lifestyle hospitality company SBE, and Cartessa Aesthetics, a disruptive aesthetic device company.

“Our expansion in the U.S. is born from our understanding of what clients need from their creative partnerships. Since joining our collective, Andy has attracted top-tier talents and together they’re reshaping Sid Lee in the U.S.A. to be a forward-thinking, digital-first creative company. The team has been able to quickly create critical momentum that’s resonating across our entire collective,” stated Bertrand Cesvet, CEO of Sid Lee Group.

Sid Lee has bases of operation in Montreal, Toronto, Paris, New York, Seattle and Los Angeles. clients. Sid Lee is a member of kyu, a collective of top drawer global creative companies including IDEO, SYPartners and Digital Kitchen established by Hakuhodo DY Holdings, the second largest agency network in Asia.

  • Tuesday, Mar. 3, 2020
ThinkLA names its board of directors
Pete Imwalle, co-president of ThinkLA, and EVP/COO of agency RPA

ThinkLA has named its 2020 board of directors after its annual election process. Members of the board include executives from a wide range of firms, including Amazon and Amazon Studios, BET, Deutsch, Horizon Media, Walton Isaacson, NBCUniversal Media and Radical Media.

ThinkLA is a media, marketing, and advertising collective which helps these businesses survive by fostering connectivity and producing educational and networking events.

The goal of ThinkLA is to facilitate business growth and promote the intellectual infrastructure for creativity, bringing together creators, buyers, and sellers and helping its members stay ahead of the curve and prosper in the rapidly evolving advertising ecosystem.

The trade association supports hundreds of creative and media companies representing over 10,000 employees in the Los Angeles area. The new board members will help guide the association as it continues its mission to connect, educate and inspire the Southern California marketing community. 

Here’s a rundown of the executive committee, directors and new directors on the board:

2020 Executive Committee

Serena Duff, GM Western Region, Horizon Media (Co-President)
Pete Imwalle, Executive VP, Chief Operating Officer, RPA (Co-President)
Eric Johnson, President, Ignited (Vice President)
Steve Orenstein, Chief Financial Officer, battery (Treasurer)

2020 Directors

  • Kirsten Atkinson, VP, Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal Media
  • Alexis Boerger, Founder, Orion Consulting
  • Luis Camano, Founder/Chief Creative, Key Activations
  • Andrew Derr, Media & Platform Senior Sales Leader, Amazon
  • Jean Freeman, Principal + CEO, Zambezi
  • Tim Hand, Co-Owner, TJH & Associates
  • Wanda Kato, EVP Managing Partner, Horizon Media
  • Mikeala Liboro, Director of PR/Communications, TBWA\Chiat\Day
  • Stuart McLean, Founder, S3 Software
  • Samantha Perlich, Sales Director, Fyllo
  • Zach Rosenburg, Growth Consultant, Zach Rosenburg Consulting
  • Frank Scherma, President, Radical Media
  • Karin Shaer, Chief Marketing Officer, The Firm
  • Carol Terakawa, CRO, Shopkick
  • Aaron Walton, President, Walton Isaacson

New directors to the Board

  • Greg Castonovo, President, Zenith/Moxie/MRY
  • Latasha Gillespie, Head of Diversity, Amazon Studios
  • Jenna Lauer, Managing Partner, Hall & Partners
  • Kim Lewis, SVP, BET
  • Kevin Mayer, EVP, Chief Marketing Officer, BJ’s Restaurant
  • Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020
Kent Zambrana joins ATK PLN as sr. producer
Kent Zambrana

Design-first creative studio ATK PLN has added Kent Zambrana as sr. producer. Zambrana has over a decade of experience in production, overseeing diverse teams of artists and comprehensive day-to-day logistics for projects spanning live action, animation and design. He comes to ATK PLN following a career at creative shops across the agency and production sides of the business, where he held multiple roles managing artists and shaping strategy on work for Fortune 500 clients and other large brands. 

A seasoned team leader, Zambrana has developed and executed media campaigns for omni-channel video ecosystems, interactive projects, and future tech. 

Zambrana said, “ATK PLN’s offerings across design, animation and live action fit nicely within my skill set. I’m looking forward to leveraging my production expertise and direct-to-brand and agency perspectives to better serve their clients and continue to grow their offerings.”

Zambrana studied radio, television and film at the University of Texas in Austin. Eager to dive headfirst into the industry, he made his way to Los Angeles where he spent four years producing work across “The Simpsons” properties, including the television series, theme park ride, digital platforms and promotional campaigns. He returned to Texas and became a supervising producer at Invodo, building out the video content library of the startup’s digital video platform. He rapidly climbed the ranks, landing as head of production while broadening his experience producing projects across animation, live action, 2D and 3D. When the company was acquired by Industrial Color in 2018, he led both the Dallas and Austin offices as sr. director of production before joining The Marketing Arm to lead its in-house production shop.

Outside of the studio, Zambrana can be found rehearsing, recording and performing with his indie pop band, “Letting Up Despite Great Faults.”

  • Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020
Editor Bill Cramer joins LVLY roster
Bill Cramer

Bill Cramer, an editor known for his comedy and dialogue work who’s just as comfortable handling sports, automotive, documentary or a myriad list of other familiar advertising genres, has joined the editorial roster at LVLY, a content creation and creative studio based in New York. 

Cramer comes over from Northern Lights; prior to that he had a long tenure at Crew Cuts, where he launched his career and built a strong reputation for his work on numerous ads and campaigns. Among the clients he’s worked for are ESPN, GMC, LG, Nickelodeon, Hasbro, MLB, Wendy’s and American Express.

Wendy Brovetto, LVLY EVP and managing director, said, “Bill’s a great comedy/dialogue editor, and that’s something our clients have been looking for. Once I saw the range of his work, it was an easy decision to invite him to join the LVLY team.”

Cramer said wasn’t looking to change roosts but when he and Brovetto met, a light bulb went off. “Wendy and I knew of each other for years, and I’d been following LVLY since they did their top-to-bottom rebranding,” he noted. “I knew that they’re doing everything from live action production to podcasting, VFX, design, VR and experiential, and I recognized that joining them would give me more opportunities to flex as an editor. Being at LVLY gives me the chance to take on any project, whether that’s a 30-second commercial, music video or long-form branded content piece; they’re set up to tackle any postproduction needs, no matter the scale.”

Cramer joins a joins a LVLY roster that includes Olivier Wicki, J.P. Damboragian, Geordie Anderson, Noelle Webb, Joe Siegel and Aaron & Bryan.

Cramer’s seen the industry change significantly, and believes LVLY is well-positioned to handle the new matrix of how brand content gets made. “The traditional TV spot is now ancillary to all the other content demands a client has, and so an editor--or any artist, really--has to be prepared to scale a project up at any point,” he noted. “LVLY is able to offer clients an experience that’s customized to their needs. And I was impressed with its diverse team of artists, who can be tapped at any time to enhance a project. They can make everything look better, and frankly, that makes me look good, too.”

  • Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020
PS260 taps EP Raná Martin to head new Boston office
Raná Martin

PS260, a post and editorial company with bases of operation in NYC and Venice, Calif., is extending its reach with a new office in Boston under the aegis of executive producer Raná Martin who will report to managing partner Zarina Mak. Martin joins PS260 from Rock Paper Scissors where she served as EP in Los Angeles. Her career began in New York City, where she held roles at Lost Planet, Three Fingered Louie, Final Cut and Cut+Run.

“When Raná agreed to launch our Boston office as our executive producer, I knew we had come into our own. You see, I’ve always had my eye on Raná. Amongst her many skills as a formidable production partner and manager, she has an innate instinct for identifying talent,” said Mak. “She does everything possible to make sure that talent flourishes. We are very lucky to be under her care as well as benefit from her decades-long experience.”

Martin said she was drawn to such factors as PS260’s boutique/family-style environment as well as the prospect of working with Mak as well as company partners JJ Lask and Maury Loeb.

PS260 is also bolstering its team in Boston with the promotion of editor Tyler Hurst, who started his career at PS260’s New York office. Quickly honing his editorial skillset, Hurst became the fastest promotion from runner to assistant before jumping coasts to help build the foundation for PS260 Los Angeles.

With a total of 7,400 sq feet spread between the 6th and 7th floors of a building on Batterymarch Street and spacious roof-deck, the Boston office features a flex Flame suite for 3D compositing, visual effects and editorial finishing, a client lounge and conference room, two producer offices, a brand-new full-sized kitchen with pantry, a virtual room currently offering connections to postproduction companies Co3 and MPC, three edit suites, and a kitchenette.

PS260 was additionally drawn to the recent passing of a number of tax cuts for production in Boston which has opened the gates to many production and post companies, leading to a booming creative economy in the market.

  • Monday, Feb. 24, 2020
Deutsch promotes Husani Oakley to chief technology officer
Husani Oakley

Husani Oakley has been elevated to chief technology officer at Deutsch New York. Reporting directly to Deutsch NY CEO Val DiFebo, Oakley will work closely beside strategy, media and creative, continuing to spearhead technology efforts across clients including AB InBev, Reebok, and Johnson & Johnson. As CTO, he will continue his leadership role in Great Machine, Deutsch’s A.I. innovation studio. 

“Creative minds, like Husani, are naturally curious and rarely satisfied with the status quo, which is what makes him the perfect candidate to lead Deutsch’s technology offering,” noted DiFebo.  “In addition to advancing our vision, Husani will continue to redefine Deutsch’s digital expertise and align our offerings with the world’s ever-changing business needs.  Tasked with continuing the agency’s momentum around digital innovation, he’ll work with our enterprising team to create proprietary marketing technology that drives creative business solutions.”  

Oakley joined Deutsch in 2018 as SVP, director of technology and advanced to EVP, director of technology and innovation in 2019.  “I’ve spent two years now working with a team that has exploration built into its DNA. The proof’s in the pudding; the work speaks for itself,” said Oakley. “But the technology-enabled culture we live in changes too quickly for us to be satisfied and accept the status quo with what we accomplished yesterday. We walk into the office every day hell-bent on finding opportunities to stay ahead of the curve and use technology to help solve our clients’ critical business challenges.”

Oakley’s start-up experience includes founding online investing platform GoldBean, design and technology firm Oakley + Partners, and the cultural event newsletter​ Flavorpill​, to name a few.  He’s also held key technology positions at agencies including Wieden + Kennedy, Euro RSCG, and Omnicom’s Evolution Bureau. 

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